A Pilates Primer: The Workout for Everyone

By Sponsor: Castle Hill Fitness – October 7, 2021

Pilates has soared in popularity the past couple of decades, but its origins actually date further back. Nearly 100 years ago, a gymnast, bodybuilder, boxer, self-defense instructor, and circus performer named Joseph Pilates developed this exercise method with the goal of maintaining “true health”. He defined this as “the attainment and maintenance of a uniformly developed body”, including the mind and spirit.
 

WHAT IS PILATES? 

In a nutshell, Pilates is a series of principles and exercises that develops strength, balance, and alignment of the whole body, with a focus on the breath and nervous system. It is often performed on specially-designed equipment and props that add a resistance element and deepen poses, but can also be practiced with just a mat and your body.  

Most people know Pilates for its exceptional development of the core – which is more than hard abdominals and a “six-pack”! A functional core also includes the pelvic floor, glutes, trapezius, and more, and the ability to appropriately move the spine as well as stabilize while moving the extremities.  

THE PRINCIPLES OF PILATES 

 To achieve the goals of a healthy body, mind, and spirit, Joseph Pilates developed a series of principles to apply while performing the exercises.  

  1. Concentration: You must focus your attention on specifics of the movements to be aware of the whole picture, to move with more confidence and grace. 
  2. Centering: All movements in Pilates stem from the center, or the “powerhouse”, and so requires a strong focus on moving from the center.  
  3. Control: Doing the movements with control teaches your muscles to respond better to the mind’s instructions.  
  4. Flowing natural movement: Pilates exercises are meant to flow into each other with fluidity and grace – even for the most challenging of exercises! 
  5. Precision: Every movement is performed in a precise, very specific way. This focus on precision helps train the body to recognize ineffective and harmful movement patterns. 
  6. Proper breathing: In Pilates, all of the muscles used for breathing are exercised as specifically as the rest of the muscles. Fun fact: many of the muscles that participate in breathing also affect our posture. 

WHAT ARE SOME RESULTS ONE CAN EXPECT? 

With consistent practice, Pilates will improve abdominal strength, posture, body awareness, muscle tone, low back problem, balance, flexibility, breath control, and coordination. Pilates is a low-impact exercise as well, so it’s easy on the joints! 

People have often reported feeling taller after Pilates – it won’t actually make you grow taller, but the benefits of improved posture will help you utilize your full height! Due to the nature of the exercises and breathing methodology, a Pilates session won’t leave you feeling exhausted and depleted. Many people experience more energy and overall sense of well-being after a session. 

WHO BENEFITS FROM PILATES?  

At its core (pun intended), Pilates is meant for anybody and everybody! For example:  

The newbie: For those just beginning an exercise program, the novice can find strength and awareness they may never have had before, or lost over time. 

The athlete: Athletes (from NFL players to tri-athletes) can cross-train for improved athletic performance AND to help prevent injuries.  

The office worker: People who spend time in office settings can counter the effects of sitting in front of a computer.  

The injured: Pilates is designed to be modified to help people recovering from all types of injury. Instructors can guide clients through a workout that is safe and rehabilitating. 

Finally, everyone benefits by changing poor movement patterns into more efficient ones. Pilates is the perfect cross-training for all! 

Pilates is one of the staple exercises at Castle Hill Fitness, and they offer multiple ways to practice at both their Downtown and Westlake locations! 

Their weekly class schedule offers a large variety of Pilates classes from beginner to advanced levels that are included in VIP memberships, or are available to purchase a la carte. For those looking to take their practice to the next level, multi-week class series offer the chance to deep dive into a specific topic and work progressively with a small group.  

Working directly with one of their experienced Pilates Instructors in Private Training sessions will offer the maximum benefits and quicker results. Castle Hill Fitness offers $25 off your first private session, OR a discounted 3-pack of sessions to get your very best start! 

 
 

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